God's Charge for preaching style, especially for the last days.
“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”
II Timothy 4:1-2
- We are in the perils of the last days: men hate sound doctrine and love fables from fairies (II Tim 3:1 – 4:4).
- One second in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will wish your pastor had been more insistent.
- The First Baptist Church of Mauldin advertises on a billboard, “If you will come back, we promise not to throw the book at you”! But all godly men know that preaching is for “throwing the book” (the Bible) at men!
- Some try foolishly to distinguish between preaching and teaching, where preaching is an entertaining art form of reviewing well known material in an entertaining style and teaching is organized instruction of a body of knowledge; but such a distinction is not made in the Scriptures.
- These deluded souls says things like this: “He is a great teacher, but he doesn’t know how to preach the gospel,” or, “He’s a great preacher, but he is not a very good teacher.” Come again!
- Preaching as an art form, with entertainment value and lots of pleasant noise, is foreign to the Word of God. Preaching better be teaching, or the man speaking should shut up and sit down.
- Preaching is nothing more than public teaching, both in English and in Scripture (Eccl 12:8-10; Matt 10:27; 11:1; Acts 4:2; 5:42; 15:35; 28:31; Col 1:28; I Tim 2:7; II Tim 1:11).
- The warm result of an entertaining pulpit presence and delivery style is simply of the flesh.
- Paul rejected those style factors that are commonly appreciated in preaching (I Cor 2:1-5).
- If we go strictly with the Bible, then Ezra gives us the method of proper preaching (Neh 8:8).
- Preaching that involves flowery speech, stories, jokes, and anecdotes is not Bible preaching.
- Since Jesus Christ commissioned His preachers, we must consider only His opinion of preaching.
- Ministers are accountable to Jesus Christ for their preaching, not their hearers (I Corinthians 4:1-4).
CHARGE TO MINISTERS
- God charges His ministers. Consider the three Pastoral Epistles, Jeremiah 23, and Ezekiel 13.
- Ministers must preach the Word: preaching anything else is to fail their Captain’s charge.
- Most ministers today do not even have the Word to preach, for they were lost in the “originals”!
- The Word of God is primarily the minister’s book (Mal 2:7; Acts 8:31; II Tim 2:15; 3:16-17).
- God’s ministers categorically ridicule dreams (Jeremiah 23:25-32) and tradition (Mark 7:5-13).
- Ministers must preach instantly: their preaching must be marked by insistent and urgent pressing
- Instant. Pressing, urgent, importunate. Said of persons and their actions.
- Some uses of “instant” refer to time and speed (Is 29:5; 30:13; Jer 18:7,9; Luke 2:38).
- However, the adverbial use of the word signifies action done in a pressing, urgent, and importunate fashion (Luke 7:4; 23:23; Acts 26:7; Romans 12:12).
- It has absolutely nothing to do with being able to preach impromptu at any time.
- Ministers must preach instantly regardless of the season: whether it is good or not.
- In season. At the right and proper time, opportunely.
- Out of season. Unseasonably, inopportunely.
- This “season” is not describing the minister’s attitude toward his preaching, but the attitude of his hearers toward his preaching. Sometimes the Lord’s people are more accommodating to insistent preaching than at other times, but this should not matter.
- Proper preaching of the Word of God involves much reproving, rebuking, and exhorting.
- Reprove. To express disapproval of (conduct, actions, beliefs); to censure, condemn.
- Rebuke. To reprove, reprimand, chide severely. To express blame or reprehension of (a quality, action, etc.) by reproof or reprimand addressed to persons.
- Exhort. To admonish earnestly; to urge by stimulating words to conduct regarded as laudable.
- Paul’s charge to Titus is very similar to this charge and emphasizes his work clearly (Titus 2:15).
- Ministers are at all out war with hearers, which is not fought gently or weakly (II Cor 10:4-6).
- Instant preaching must be done out of season with a proper spirit of longsuffering. The context dictates that this longsuffering is the patience of the minister to endure the resistance and rejection of his preaching rather than his patience to compromise with his hearers.
- Instant preaching must be done with an appropriate amount of doctrinal instruction: it cannot simply be the venting of frustration against bad conduct.
- Paul warned of a time when sound doctrine and instant preaching would not be popular.
- We are in that time – the perilous times of the last days, when “Christians” reject sound doctrine.
- Men would increase in rebellion and weakness until they would reject sound doctrine (3:13).
- Continuing to desire teachers for their form of godliness (3:5), they select and support ministers that tickle their itching ears with smooth things to their liking, just like Israel (Is 30:8-11).
- The natural appetite of man is for fables rather than truth (John 8:45), and you must remember that our hearts will refuse to let us rightly understand this (Jeremiah 17:9).
- This changing of the truth into fables will bring judgment upon men (Romans 1:25).
- Sound doctrine condemns all things that are contrary to the gospel (I Tim 1:8-11).
- Instant preaching is not rude preaching. For a study of rude preaching consider that outline.
EXAMPLES OF GODLY PREACHING
- Ministers should closely resemble Scriptural fathers (Gen 18:19; Josh 24:14-15; I Tim 3:4-5; 5:17).
- Ministers should resemble the Levites (Deut 27:14-26), Samuel (I Samuel 8:6-18; 12:1-25), Jehoiada (II Chronicles 23:16-17), Ezra (Ezra 10:5), Nehemiah (Nehemiah 5:12-13; 13:11,17,25,28), and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 3:4-11; 13:22; 22:30).
- Ministers should resemble John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 6:17-20; Luke 1:17,80; 3:10-20).
- Ministers should resemble Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:28-29; Luke 11:45-54; 14:25-33; John 6:59-71).
- Ministers should resemble Paul (I Cor 3:1-2; 11:1-2; II Cor 10:8-11; Gal 3:1-3; Hebrews 5:12-14).
- Instant preaching is contending against error in any quarter (II Cor 10:1-6; Titus 1:9-11; Jude 1:3).
- Instant preaching is commanding (I Thessalonians 4:11; II Thess 3:4,6,10,12; I Timothy 4:11).
- Instant preaching is charging (I Timothy 1:3; 5:7; 6:17; compare Mark 9:25; Acts 16:24).
- Instant preaching is reproving (Prov 6:23; 25:12; Luke 3:19; I Cor 14:25; II Tim 3:15; 4:2).
- Instant preaching is rebuking (I Timothy 5:20; II Tim 4:2; Titus 1:13; 2:15; Revelation 3:19).
- Instant preaching is exhorting (Acts 2:40; I Thess 4:1; I Timothy 6:2; Titus 1:9; 2:6,9).
- Instant preaching is threatening (Mark 3:17; Luke 13:6-10; I Cor 4:21; 16:22; II Cor 5:10-11; 10:11; 13:2; Colossians 1:28; Revelation 2:5).
- Instant preaching is provoking (Ecclesiastes 12:11; Acts 2:37; Romans 11:14).
- Instant preaching is like a fire and a hammer against a rock (Jer 5:14; 20:9; 23:25-32).
- Instant preaching is stubborn preaching against difficult opposition (Ezekiel 2:6-8).
- Instant preaching is negative preaching (Hos 6:5-7; I Cor 1:4-13; Gal 1:6-10; Rev 2:2-5).
- Instant preaching is angry preaching (Exodus 32:19; Numbers 16:15; Neh 5:6; Mark 3:5).
- Instant preaching is sarcastic preaching (Judges 6:31; 10:14; I Kings 18:17-40; Eccl 11:9; Isaiah 41:21-24; 44:14-17; Amos 4:4-5).
- Instant preaching saves a minister from the blood of his people (Ezek 33:1-7; Acts 20:26).